Nesting turtles on the beach a few minutes walk away, dawn boat trips along the flooded jungle waterways, birdwatching from your balcony, huge amorous iguanas around the swimming pool (only amorous towards each other I should explain – we were there in their mating season) – this is a bit of paradise in Tortuguero, Costa Rica. We stayed at Pachira Lodge as part of an excellent tour with Llama Travel (llamatravel.com) but you can book independently too. The spacious but simply furnished rooms are in wooden cabins on raised walkways amidst 34 acres of beautiful butterfly-filled gardens where you hear (and sometimes see) the strange bark of howler monkeys on your way to meals. The rates are inclusive of all meals plus boat transfers and tours. Doubles $289 for two days, one night. Just one warning – it’s in the rainforest, so it does, well, rain a lot. We were lucky but the welly store in the hotel was a clue.
The only way to reach Costa Rica’s Jungle Lodge in the Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast is by river launch, which takes you on a two hour journey right into the heart of dense rainforest. We were warned not to dangle our hands in the water - crocodiles are lurking. Howler monkeys serenade your arrival at the lodge, a charming and comfortable one storey wooden affair with long trellised veranda. The purpose of the overhanging roof was explained when a hammering tropical downpour woke us at 5am. Doors opened and one by one we guests abandoned sleep and enjoyed the warm rain together in the swimming pool. My daughter will always remember the jungle walk where two people’s shoes squelched off in the mud (they do lend you wellies), tiny green frogs that sat on her hand, and the boa constrictor in a tree. My favourite was the 'just after dawn' silent boat rides where our guide pointed out iguanas on the bank, spider monkeys and toucans high overhead in the jungle canopy. The richness of the exuberant foliage around the lodge itself was overwhelming, and just sitting around the pool or watching butterflies from the veranda was enough to experience the jungle and its creatures, barely restrained on all sides.
Tortuguero, 26-1017, Costa Rica - 223 1200
Google map: tinyurl.com/ycg2zlr
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